Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story

Year: 2007
Country: USA
Running time: 114 mins
Screenplay: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville, Mark Crosby
Photography: David Leonard
Editors: John Olivio, Alexis Spraic
Music: Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd
Narrator: Samuel L. Jackson
DigiBeta/PG low level offensive language

Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2007; Sydney 2008

How Otis Redding, baggage handler, came to sing his sublime "These Arms of Mine" late one Memphis afternoon in the early 60s, thereby changing his fortunes and those of a small recording studio, is just one of the many anecdotes comprising this illuminating history of Stax Records, low-down cousin to Detroit's silkier Motown. It's a riveting story, dosed with triumph, loss, betrayal and renaissance, set against a backdrop of desegregation and massive social change. Reminiscences from the label's key figures - its founders, producers, performers and visionaries - are judiciously intercut with rare archival footage, ensuring that the pulsing Memphis Sound remains at the forefront. Volcanic concert performances of songs by Sam & Dave and Redding - allowed to play out their entire, searing duration - raise blisters and may also break your heart. Essential viewing for every soul fan, or for anyone passionate about American popular music. — SR